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Scholars to discuss role of area studies in the global age

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas will host a panel discussion on the challenges and opportunities facing the field of area studies during an event at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3, in The Commons. The talk is free and open to the public.

The featured speakers at the roundtable, all of whom contributed to the book "Area Studies in the Global Age: Community, Place, Identity," are prominent scholars in their fields and associated with area studies centers at KU. The anthology resulted from a 2011 conference held at KU and was co-edited by Edith Clowes, formerly a professor of KU’s Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and director of the Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies. Clowes, currently Bowman-Forman Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Virginia, will return in order to open the discussion.

Clowes will be joined by several KU faculty who contributed to the volume, including J. Megan Greene, Department of History; Marike Janzen, coordinator of Peace & Conflict studies and courtesy professor of Germanic languages and literatures; John James Kennedy, Department of Political Science, and Elizabeth MacGonagle, Department of History and director of the Kansas African Studies Center.

Published earlier this year by Northern Illinois University Press, "Area Studies in the Global Age: Community, Place, Identity" examines the interrelationships between groups in society, the terrain to which they believe they belong and their self-definition. The five-year project represents an effort to conceptualize area and global studies in a way that shifts focus to the importance of understanding specific human experiences and the actual effects of global changes on real people’s lives. It features the interdisciplinary work of scholars specializing in Africa, Central, East and North Asia, Latin America and other world areas. The book will be available for purchase after the lecture.

The talk is sponsored by KU’s Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies, Center for East Asian Studies, Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies, Kansas African Studies Center, Global & International Studies, Department of History, Department of Political Science, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, and The Commons.  

Expert instruction in Arabic, Kiswahili, and Wolof at the beginning and intermediate levels will be offered over eight weeks in June-July 2018.

Foreign Language & Area Studies Fellowships

The Kansas African Studies Center has received $140,000 in funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities to launch public discussions, community programming, and the creation of educational resources in local communities to discuss the challenges and opportunities surrounding recent demographic changes in the region. Visit to learn more. 

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